Okay, I don’t actually believe in karma, but for lack of better words, I couldn’t help but think that about an Oregon bureaucrat who bullied a Christian bakery, and then lost an election.
For the first time since 2002, a Republican was elected in Oregon to a statewide office. Brad Avakian, Labor Commissioner, was beat out for the Secretary of State position by Republican Dennis Richardson.
BOOY-YA! Avakian was essentially TOO liberal for one of America’s most liberal states. Oh, the irony!
So, the TLDR story is that Avakian gained his five minutes of fame when he ultimately declared war on a Christian Bakery, Sweet Cakes, back in 2013 for declining to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. This gained national coverage, and you probably heard about it at some point. This was completely within their rights, due to it being a private business.
Fox News delivers the full story:
Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple’s ceremony.
The Kleins, who are devout Christians, explained that participating in a same-sex wedding would violate their deeply-held religious beliefs.
Avakian launched a very public and very ugly assault on the Klein family – alleging they had discriminated about the lesbian couple.
They faced boycotts and picket lines and other wedding vendors were threatened with similar action if they did business with Sweet Cakes.
The family’s young children received death threats and the store’s social networking platforms were overrun by militant LGBT activists posting obscene and profane messages.
The Kleins were eventually ordered to pay $135,000 in “emotional damages” to the lesbians.
They were also forced to shutter their retail location – and eventually shut down their family bakery.
“The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate,” Avakian told The Oregonian in 2013.
Avakian was just as ruthless in his attacks on a Portland bar that turned away transgender patrons. The owner of the Twilight Room Annex did not want his establishment to be known as a “gay bar.”
The bar was slapped with a $400,000 judgment and was forced to shut down.
The Kleins are represented by First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms. They are appealing the fines levied by Avakian’s office.
“We will never know if Mr. Avakian’s unprecedented attack on religious liberty played a role, but we are hopeful that there is a path toward justice,” attorney Hiram Sasser told me. “Everyone’s beliefs deserve respect and tolerance even if some disagree with those beliefs.”
Well at least for now, one door has been shut in Avakian’s path. One cannot simply go on a warpath because a business declines to work with a person or group of people.
Sasser stated, “Perhaps this will serve as a point of reflection for government leaders that the people of Oregon and indeed most Americans believe in tolerance and respect and the dignity of each person to live their lives according to the dictates of their own consciences.”
I suppose voters finally saw the bully for what he was.